Question Sheet: Koalas, Up Close and Personal


Before reading:

  1. Mammals belong to one of two groups: placental or marsupial. What is the


  2. Where do koalas live?

During reading:

  1. How do people commonly misunderstand koalas? Why do they have these false


  2. What is a koala’s life like when it is first born? 
  3. Describe the koala’s habitat. 
  4. How did scientists bring koalas back from near extinction in some parts of Australia? 
  5. How does climate change affect koalas? 
  6. How do researchers study and learn about koalas?

After reading:

  1. How does being “cute” help and hurt koalas? 
  2. Koalas have a very limited diet. Why can’t we humans eat only one thing

    every day? 

  3. How might global warming be causing the drought in Queensland? 
  4. Eucalyptus leaves are poisonous to most animals, but not koalas. How might

    that help koalas survive? 

  5. Choose another endangered animal. How does the plight of the koala compare

    to the troubles faced by your animal? 

  6. Do most animals live on only one continent, or do most animals live in a

    variety of places? Explain your reasoning.


  1. Where is Queensland? What is the average temperature of the area? 
  2. How do the seasons in Australia compare to the seasons where you live?


  1. Imagine that you are living in the early 1900s and trying to protect koalas.

    Write a letter to your government about how to help the animals. 

  2. Because koalas are cute, people often try and anthropomorphize them or make

    them seem like humans. What is the danger of treating animals this way? How

    should writers describe koalas to avoid this problem?


At birth, koalas weigh about half a gram. In southern Australia, an average male adult koala weighs 26 pounds (11.8 kg), and males reach their full adult weight by age 4. How much weight, on average, does a male koala need to gain each of its first four years of life to reach full size?